Flyers Need to Make an Offer to Flames Matthew Tkachuk

With the NHL’s free agency period set to begin on July 13 at noon ET, the Philadelphia Flyers need to fill holes at both the forward and backup goaltending positions. “We could use everything: A center, a wing, and a defenseman,” said general manager Chuck Fletcher. The organization is prepared to make changes before heading into the next season after failing to reach the playoffs in each of the last two seasons. There is a little more than $5 million in cap space available for the 2022-23 season, so making a major splash is going to be difficult, but it is not out of the realm of possibility.

This offseason will provide one of the best pools of free agents in recent years, including forwards Johnny Gaudreau and Filip Forsberg and goaltender Ville Husso, but that does not guarantee the Flyers will sign a top target. Outside of these free agents, there are plenty of other high-end players available, but what if the organization took another route? Crazier things have happened during the offseason, so nothing is surprising at this point.

Related: Early Forward Targets for the 2022-23 Philadelphia Flyers

The team could try to trade for Chicago Blackhawks star winger Alex DeBrincat, but at a cost more than they would give up. He is a game-changing player and would certainly improve the Flyers lineup right away, but the Blackhawks are looking for far too much in return. This deal would end up hurting the team more than helping it, but thankfully there are more routes out there.

Sending an Offer Sheet for Tkachuk

One route the Flyers organization could take is making a run at Calgary Flames forward Matthew Tkachuk, who will become a restricted free agent following the expiration of his entry-level contract. The 24-year-old winger put up 104 points (42 goals and 62 assists) for the Flames during the 2021-22 campaign and would be the perfect fit into the top-six forward group of the Flyers.

Related: Calgary Flames 2022 Player Report Cards: Matthew Tkachuk

While it would be foolish of the Flames to allow Tkachuk to slip away that easily, especially after the season he had, it would not be out of the question for another team to swoop in and make an offer. According to Pierre LeBrun, Tkachuk’s agent is waiting to see how Gaudreau’s situation plays out before determining where he will end up (from ‘LeBrun: The latest on J.T. Miller and Matthew Tkachuk trade talk, goalie carousel, and more,’ The Athletic, 7/6/2022). 

“It goes without saying the Flames’ lone intention right now is to sign Tkachuk long-term and keep him in the fold,” LeBrun said. “But if he prefers to do a one-year deal and bring himself to UFA in a year, it puts Calgary in a brutal spot.”

The Flyers are no stranger to making offer sheets for highly desired players, regardless of how things turned out. The organization put in offer sheets for former Vancouver Canucks center Ryan Kesler and Nashville Predators defenseman Shea Weber, but neither deal worked out in the end. Putting in an offer sheet for Tkachuk would change the entire face of the Flyers franchise and improve the current roster beyond thinkable possibilities, but only if Calgary does not match it.

Evaluating Tkachuk’s Fit into the Flyers’ Lineup

Tkachuk is the type of player born to be a member of the orange and black. Between his gritty style of play and goal-scoring abilities, he possesses the talent the team has been searching for after losing long-time captain Claude Giroux. With forward Joel Farabee expected to miss the next three to four months, including the start of the season, the Flyers need someone with a bit of jump to their game. 

Adding him to the lineup addresses the need for a forward that is not afraid to get physical while also possessing all the skills to be one of the best forwards on the team. His natural ability to score goals, especially in crucial moments, would complement an already skilled set of wingers in Cam Atkinson, Kevin Hayes, and Travis Konecny, all of which struggled to get things going last season.

Matthew Tkachuk Calgary Flames
Matthew Tkachuk, Calgary Flames (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

Not only would he be a top-line forward, but he would also more than likely lead the team in goals and total points by the end of the season. Having finished eighth overall in the league with 104 points, he certainly knows how to put the puck in the back of the net and dish it out too. The possibilities are endless, but the Flyers need to step up and make a move first.

There is no telling what might happen over the next few weeks, but Flyers fans need to buckle up for a potentially wild ride this offseason, as the team could have a completely new look heading into the 2022-23 season. Maybe, just maybe things will finally start heading in the right direction.

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